Rules and regulations

General copyright and licensing policy

Updated on 15 August 2006

Copyright and other issues related to intellectual property for staff and students

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What Is Copyright?

Summary Introduction

  • The legislation relating to copyright in the UK is the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended).
  • Copyright grants certain rights to the copyright owner (usually the creator) to control the way their material may be used and exploited and prevents others from doing so without the copyright owner's consent.
  • Copyright protection arises automatically in the UK. The copyright can be bought, licensed or assigned.
  • One of its main purposes is to allow originators of copyright material to gain economic reward for the work they produce.
  • It is a right "arising automatically on the expression of an idea in a tangible form". This means an idea is not protected by copyright unless recorded in some way. Copyright gives legal protection to creators of certain kinds of works to prevent unfair use of those works.
  • While it is common to see copyright works marked with the international copyright symbol © this is not necessary in the UK to obtain copyright.
  • Authors under the Act also have "moral rights". This is the right to be identified as the author, the right to object to derogatory treatment of a work and the right to prevent false attribution of a work.

What Is Protected By Copyright

  • Literary works, books, text on website, newspaper articles, course materials
  • Sound records including CDs, tapes, audio files
  • Films including videos, broadcasts, audio visual files
  • Artistic works including paintings and photographs
  • Dramatic and musical works
  • Typographical arrangements e.g. copying of the layout or arrangement of text

The Rights of the Copyright Owner

These relate to:

  • copying the work;
  • issuing copies to the public;
  • renting or lending the work;
  • publicly performing, showing or playing.

How Long Does Copyright Protection Last

Generally literary copyright lasts for 70 years following the death of the creator. For sound recordings and computer generated works it lasts for 50 years from the date of recording or creation respectively. Copyright in typographical arrangements rests with the publisher for 25 years following the date of publication.

Copyright On the Internet

Under UK law, any material on the web is protected by copyright, as it would be on any other media. Distributing it or downloading copyright material from the internet without the owners permission may amount to infringement (for instance downloading, copying or printing more than one article per issue of a journal without the permission of the copyright owner is not permitted. Downloading entire contents of an electronic journal to your PC, home file space or writable CD is illegal). Further information on these issues are available in the University's Code of Practice for Electronic Publishing and Guide to Electronic Copying. See also guidelines for fair dealing in an electronic environment by JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) and UKOLN.

Licences Held By the University

Copyright On Paper-based Material: the CLA Licence

The CLA Licence was signed on behalf of the University on 3 June 2002. It governs the University's photocopying activities by staff and students.

This licence:

  • permits reprographic copying (onto paper from paper) of multiple copies (see amounts below) by or for the benefit of University staff and students
  • does NOT cover scanning, nor electronic downloads. These are either governed by other specific agreements or licences, or may require writing to all copyright owners for permission and paying any fee. Copyright owners may include all authors, publishers, type-setters, illustrators etc.
  • enables copies only to be made from Licensed Material published in the UK or the Mandating Territories. These include most English-speaking countries and most of Europe apart from items in the List of Excluded Works. Lists of US Publishers, Mandating Territories and Excluded Works. Further detail on the licence is available on the CLA website.
  • covers copying for all University courses.

Permitted amounts copied must not exceed either singly or in aggregate the greater of 5% of any published edition, or

  • in the case of a book one complete chapter;
  • in the case of an article in an issue of a serial publication or in a set of conference proceedings, one whole article;
  • in the case of an anthology of short stories or poems one short story or poem not exceeding ten (10) pages in length;
  • in the case of a published report of judicial proceedings, the entire report of a single case.

An extension to the licence has recently been obtained to cover non-credit bearing courses and there are special provisions apply to copying for partially sighted persons. Further information on the special provisions applying to copyright issues for partially sighted persons can be found at

Exceptions to Copyright

There are some limited exceptions to copyright - these do not give rights to use copyright material, they simply state certain activities do not infringe. These include limited use for non-commercial research and private study. Copyright is infringed where either the whole or a "substantial part" of a work is used without permission, unless it falls within one of the exceptions. A substantial part can mean a "qualitative" significant part. This means that even a small portion of the whole work can still be a "substantial part".

Fair Dealing

The EU Copyright Directive "The Harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (2001/29 EC)" was implemented in the UK at the end of October 2003 by the Copyright and related rights regulations 2003. Further information on this can be found on Intellectual Property Office. One major change is that for "fair dealing". This exemption to the copyright restrictions only now applies for non-commercial purposes. There is no exact definition of commercial though the British Library website gives further guidance. "Fair dealing" itself is not defined by the Copyright Act either but general guidelines are as per the limits stated in the CLA licence above. It has been interpreted by looking at the economic impact on the copyright owner of the use.

The Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 also allows the making of a single accessible copy for the personal use of a partially sighted person. Any large print format copy must not however be commercially available.

CLA Presentation

Scottish Business Development Manager from the CLA, Jim McNeilage, visited the University on 26 April 2005 to raise awareness of copyright issues with the University's CLA licence. 

New CLA Digitisation Licence

As a result of negotiations between the UUK/SCOP Copyright Licensing Agency the CLA are launching proposals for their new trial digitisation licence to permit scanning from printed sources within specified limits.

The new licence is called a blanket digitisation licence and will be subject to strict reporting and audit controls by the CLA.

Below are a summary of the main terms. It allows:

  • the creation of digital copies from originals which are either owned by the University or from a copyright fee paid copy (CPF).
  • photocopying and scanning limits which are similar to the existing photocopying licence (i.e. 5%, 1 chapter or 1 article) and will have the same exclusion list of categories and specific works there too
  • It is be for educational purposes only and files must be deleted at the end of the course.
  • It covers scanning of items to be available to students on a course of study.
  • It does not allow blanket scanning or commercial onward use. It's not a substitute for primary purchases.
  • The licence is on the basis of an opt in period for one year over the trial three year period.
  • It covers UK publications only and publishers are only tied into the deal for the first year.
  • The price of the licence is £4.92 per FTE. There will be an annual cost of living index uplift.

Design & Artists Copyright Society (DACS)

The University holds a licence for slide collections. This indemnifies the collection at the Faculty of Duncan of Jordanstone, and allows certain additions to this collection from in-house production of slides. The Licence covers only artistic works reproduced on slide for teaching purposes (but not film stills, advertisements or trade-marks). All other forms of reproduction are excluded from the licence. Further reproduction of the slides, in any format, is prohibited. Please note that the photocopying of artistic works where these form part of text which is photocopied is not licensed To do so would infringe copyright. The Licence only covers the collection at Duncan of Jordanstone Library. It does not indemnify in-house production of slides from published sources undertaken elsewhere in the University. Please contact the Library & Learning Centre at for further information on the DACS licence.

Educational Recording Agency (ERA)

The University is licensed by the Educational Recording Agency (ERA) Ltd for off-air recording of radio and television programmes as teaching aids.

Recordings made must clearly be labelled for educational use only, with labels available from the ERA. Recordings may only be used with registered students. Any recordings made prior to 1 August 1989 are not covered by the ERA Licence nor by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and should be destroyed. ERA conducts ongoing statistical surveys of recordings in educational establishments and the University may be selected to participate in terms of their licence conditions and provide a record of any recordings made. Detailed records must therefore be kept by all Faculties/Departments/Schools so that information is available when requested. For further details see Educational Recording Agency.

There are 2 new changes to the ERA licence as from 1 April 2005:

1. Equity, the Musicians' Union and The Incorporated Society of Musicians will now be specified as licensing rights on behalf of their members.

2. Rights licensed will cover not only the making of recordings of broadcasts off-air for educational purposes, but also the "communication" of such recordings to students and teachers within the premises of 'licensed educational establishments'.

Ordnance Survey - Educational Copyright

The University is licensed to reproduce ordnance survey copyright material for educational, research and teaching purposes to:

  • copy maps
  • use digital mapping
  • show up to ten 200 square cm bitmap images on the University website
  • copy mapping as a location map in a prospectus or brochure.

For further information see Ordnance Survey.

Open University Recordings

Open University broadcasts are not covered by the University's ERA Licence. An Open University Licence is separately held by the University. This permits recordings to be made for official teaching purposes. An annual audit of recordings erasures is requested by the administrators of the Scheme. Detailed records of holdings, recordings and erasures must therefore be kept by all Faculties/Departments/Schools and all other parts of the University where such recordings are made or used. AV Support in IT Services may be able to undertake recordings on behalf of Departments/Schools.

Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA)

The University holds an NLA Licence which permits it to copy excerpts from newspapers which are represented by the NLA on the basis of a fee determined by the size of the University, subject to tally of amounts of material utilised. The purposes licensed are management and teaching. For further details see NLA Media Access.

Public Screen Licence (PVS)

As an educational establishment, the University is able to show videos, DVDs etc to audiences of staff and students "where this is in the activities of the establishment or for the purpose of instruction" without any clearing rights. SALLS, however, has obtained a Public Screening Licence (PVS). This is to show films as an entertainment programme not within University activities. It is limited to their own usage, specific to a particular premises, and for a group number specified. It excludes showing to members of the public.

Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) and Performing Rights Society (PRS)

The University holds licences which cover for example musical performances/recorded music at various sites. These authorise the public use of CDs, tapes, records etc. As from 31 October 2003 if playing the radio and TV or using a narrowcast background music service a PPL licence is required. For further information contact Mr Graeme Stevenson,, Music Co-ordinator, Chaplaincy Centre or see PPL UK and PRS for Music.

Reproduction of Crown and Parliamentary Copyright Material

Detailed guidance on the conditions relating to the reproduction of Crown and Parliamentary copyright material is available from Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

Other Copyright Issues

Further Useful Links

Computer Software

Information on the University's policy can be found on the UoD IT webpage with reference to the Web Code of Practice and the IT Regulations for Use of Computing Facilities.

Ownership of Student/Staff IPR

  • Undergraduate Students

    For the avoidance of doubt, all Undergraduate Students retain their own intellectual property rights relating to any work they do while attending University. Specific instances may require individual assignations by students in favour of the University where appropriate, e.g. where the student is the holder of a Wellcome Vacation Studentship (to enable the University to comply with the grant conditions).

  • Postgraduate Students - Research Courses

    Since 1991, all Postgraduate Students, registered for a Research Degree, are invited to sign an Assignation of their IPR in favour of the University at the time when they matriculate. This is administered by the Research Degrees Office, Registry. This assignation places the postgraduate students in exactly the same position as a full time member of staff, i.e. the University owns their intellectual property and manages it in accordance with the usual Court Guidelines. For records of any such assignations, the Research Degrees Office (Ext 4035) can be contacted.

  • Postgraduate Students - Taught Courses

    There is a distinction between students registered for research courses and those registered for taught courses at postgraduate level. The latter are not asked to assign their intellectual property to the University and therefore remain beneficial owners to all material they produce. This is relevant for departments, e.g. Centre for Energy, Mineral & Petroleum Law & Policy, where they may wish to publish copyright material owned by students as departmental publications etc. (subject to consent of the relevant students)

  • Staff

    The rights of staff in relation to all forms of intellectual property including copyright, are described in guidelines on Consultancies, Patents, Licensing and Commercial Exploitations. A copy of these guidelines can be obtained from either Personnel Services or Research & Innovation Services. As with undergraduate students, there may be specific circumstances where assignations should be arranged.

Corporate information category Legal